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People who suffered burns in the July 2019 deadly arson attack on a Kyoto Animation Co. studio were treated with cryopreserved skin from third parties.

With the number of people who agree to donate their skin after death on the decline, the Japan Skin Bank Network is calling for cooperation from citizens, noting that skin grafting is essential to saving lives.

In the arson attack two years ago, 36 people were killed and 32 were injured.

The network provided skin to two victims who suffered severe burns. After multiple graft operations, one survived.

The organization removes skin from the donor within 12 hours of death and preserves the skin at a temperature of minus 190 degrees Celsius. It provides such skin to people under threat of their lives due to extensive burns in response to requests from about 80 registered medical institutions.

But the number of donors has been decreasing year by year. Only three people donated skin in 2020, down from 40 in 2008.

A fund shortage has made it difficult to secure coordinators who are tasked with obtaining consent from families before skin is removed from deceased people.

Dai Aoki, 44, chief coordinator at the network, said, “We need to preserve a sufficient amount of skin so that we can respond whenever an individual suffers severe burns.”

He asked those who are willing to donate skin after death to state their commitment on the back of their driving licenses or a card declaring their intention of organ donation.

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